Hundreds of consumers hit by collapse

14 Jul 2010

Hundreds of Irish consumers are understood to have been hit by the collapse of the online travel reservation company The company announced on Tuesday night that it is involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is advising any customers who made bookings on the site to ask a licensed travel agent to help them confirm/rebook their accommodation.

“Thanks to the totally outdated travel licensing regime in this country, 1800Hotels did not have to provide a bond to protect consumers,” said ITAA chief executive Simon Nugent.

“We recommend that customers who need to rebook accommodation ask a licensed and bonded ITAA travel agent for help.  ITAA members have a better chance of rebooking customers’ rooms at, or close to, the rate originally quoted.  And of course, if people book through a licensed agent, their money is protected by our bonding scheme.  

“We are currently exploring whether we can make arrangements with some of the supplier ‘bed banks’ who used to work with 1800Hotels so as to minimise the problems consumers face.  However, the news is not good.  Several bed banks have told us that all forward bookings made by 1800hotels have already been cancelled,” he warned.

Nugent also pointed out that the Irish company, which owns the 1800hotels website, is completely unregulated and unbonded.  

“We call on the Minister for Transport, Mr Noel Dempsey, to act urgently on reform of protection for the travelling consumer.  After all, the current Travel Act was written back in 1982 before the internet was invented.  It is full of holes, as Tuesday’s news reveals.  Ironically, proposals for reform have been with the Department of Transport since January 2009 but 18 months later, the minister has not yet even commented on them,” he said.

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